By David Gould, Staff Editor
The opinions of Proponent Group members toward professional certification programs have long been a subject of great interest. Significant amounts of time and money are spent pursuing these opportunities, which are a key part of the continuing-ed process. They help instructors stay abreast of new ideas and platforms and they send the message that you care enough to keep studying and learning. Based on the volume of certifications completed by our members and the growing number of programs available there seems to be no slowdown in interest or availability going forward.
Proponent has canvassed its members about certifications three times now—in 2014, 2017 and here in 2020. As a result we possess unique long-term trend data to go along with the latest snapshot. This installment of our twice-weekly Member’s Minute email contains Part 1 of our two-part summary of the research. (Thursday’s installment will feature Part 2).
Some 130 coaches filled out the 2020 survey, which provides us a statistically representative sampling. There were no fewer than 42 programs and platforms listed in the questionnaire, exactly double the number we asked about back in 2014. Only a half-dozen or so failed to draw enough responses to be included in the report (if a program garnered less than a 4 percent completion rate, we deemed it to have insufficient data for proper comparisons.)
As the table in the link below indicates, the broad appeal of TPI Certified Golf Fitness continues—a resounding 63 percent of respondents said they were TPI-certified at some level. Second-most popular was US Kids Golf, with 43 percent certified, and third on the list was TrackMan University, which shows 34 percent officially qualified. Other programs coming in above the 20-percent level were Operation 36 (highest ranking of any program that didn’t exist when we did our first survey six years ago), Eyeline Golf, Certified Golf Coaches, K-Vest, Aimpoint, Swing Catalyst and Blast Motion. In our first survey just six years ago, only TPI garnered more than 20 percent completion by our members when it posted a 51 percent completion rate. (For the entire list, see Sheet 1 in the downloadable file below.)
Of those top 10, five involve hardware that your students interact with during teaching and training, and one of those five—US Kids Golf—involves a product the student purchases for regular use. One other general point that bears noting is the switchover to online learning, versus in-person work that would usually involve travel for the coach. That factor naturally contributes further to coaches’ willingness to pursue these programs in the future, as more learning moves online.
Our questionnaire generally focused on programs a respondent had already pursued and completed. However there was one question relating to future plans, asking which of the certifications a member felt he or she was “likely” to go and obtain. Topping that list in a tie were TrackMan University and Mach 3 Speed Training, which 33 percent of respondents expect to add to their resumes. Nearly equaling those two in “buzz factor” were Vision54, Forces and Motion, and Wedge Matrix. (See Sheet 2 in the downloadable file below.)
In Part 2 of this report, we’ll move on to a group of questions designed to indicate levels of satisfaction on the part of members who have become certified in the various programs, including issues of value derived, enhancement to professional reputation and upgrade to coaching skill set. Look for that on Thursday.